Fractal Design Define R2 XL Chassis Review




/ 8 years ago

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FD-CA-DEF-XL-R2-BL_3

I feel very lucky today, not only do I get the chance to play around with a Fractal Design chassis, but one of their flagship designs at that. Here, I have the Define XL R2 Black Pearl, a chassis that may just look like any other from the pictures, but when standing alongside one, it’s fairly clear that this is something a little special.

With standing dimensions of 322 x 637 x 655, the R2 XL lives up to its “extra-large” implying title, it tall, wide, very long and imposing. Put simply, its big. However, with great dimensions comes a great weight too, and with a bulk of 16.5KG before you’ve installed so much as a SATA cable its likely you need take extra care when lifting the chassis.

Fractal Design have already built them selves a rock solid reputation for outstanding design, build quality, performance and they’ve even won several awards from eTeknix over the last couple of years, so I am keen to see just what the XL R2 has to offer beyond it being heavy.

As you can see from the specifications below there is a good reason for the chassis size, with support for tiny M-ATX and M-ITX motherboards, all the way up to and including XL-ATX, 9 expansion slots, deep PSUs and more.

Specifications

  • ATX, Micro ATX, mini-ITX, E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboard compatibility
  • 4 – 5.25″ bays
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs
  • A total of 9 expansion slots
  • 3 – ModuVent™ plates – two in the top and one in the side
  • 7 – Fan positions (3 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 170 mm tall (when no fan is installed in the side panel)
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 190 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 345 mm deep) can be used 
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 330mm in length with the top HDD cage installed – With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 480mm in length may be installed
  • 26 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
  • Colors available: Black Pearl, Titanium Grey
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 559 x 560mm
  • Net weight: 16.4kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 637 x 655mm
  • Package weight: 19kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included); 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Rear: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
  • Top: 2 – 120/140mm fans (not included) – positions also support 240/280mm slim radiators
  • Bottom: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
  • Side: 1 – 140mm fan (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)
  • Water cooling compatibility:
    • Front – 240mm radiator when HDD cages are removed or repositioned
    • Top – 240 and 280mm when using slim radiators
    • Bottom – 120mm radiators
    • Rear – 120 and 140mm radiators

The XL R2 came bundled with the usual user’s manual as well as a neat little box with all the regular screws, bolts, cable ties, etc, required to install your components.

DSC_8578

The chassis comes packaged in a fairly straight forward box that doesn’t give much away about the chassis other than a basic representation of its design.

Packaging

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